Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Favorites: The School Year is in Full Swing

This week our school year schedule entered full swing mode and we got a preview of what our Fall season will look like. We weren't sick so we had a full week of big school (and preschool at home), we started soccer, we started choir, and we started homework every night for a whole week... including homework for Austin because he insisted. It was a busy week but a good week! And here are my favorites:

*I got absolutely zero pictures from last weekend but we had a great one full of fun and family. It was one of my favorite weekends since moving!

*Sunday morning seeing all my guys so handsome and ready for church. I am blessed! 

*Austin and I had a good time with school this week. We shifted our focus to a reveiw of numbers and introduced graphing. We both really enjoyed our school time. =)

*Our first soccer practice of the season was cancelled after it started pouring on Tuesday evening for a total of about 4 minutes... and the big boys were pretty devastated. So sad. But never fear, coach daddy held practice anyway. He is such a good daddy. They had so much fun and are officially soccer ready.
Layton and I hung out and watched practice and had a pretty good time too. =)

*Speaking of Layton... He has got to get a tooth soon! The amount of drool he's producing is off the charts and he can't get things in his mouth fast enough! It's pretty cute. Especially when I catch him going after something like this. Haha. We are all ready for that first tooth to show up!

*Bailey has decided Layton's room is also her room. I catch her in there all the time snoozing away.

*We celebrated daddy's birthday on Wednesday! We took our big boys to choir at church and then got take-out from daddy's restaurant of choice plus enjoyed his favorite dessert and presents after bathtime. I think he had a great day. We are so thankful for August 20, 1981!
*Garrison had soccer practice again last night and this time it wasn't cancelled. Yay! He had a lot of fun. We all melted in the sun while we watched but it seemed to be a great first practice. We're looking forward to a fun season. 
This weekend we're looking forward to shopping for Austin's birthday party and celebrating daddy's birthday again with family. It should be a great one! Happy Friday and Happy 7th Birthday today to our niece Allison!!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Career Changes

For pretty much as long as I can remember growing up I knew I wanted to be a teacher. An elementary school teacher. A 2nd grade teacher to be exact. I just loved kids and teaching/helping anyone younger than me and making learning fun and just knew that's what I wanted to be when I grew up. Making a difference was like my driving passion... as it is for most aspiring teachers. As I got closer to college I felt totally confident about my Early Childhood major and earning my degree and starting my career.

Enter getting married and thinking about the future and planning for the babies.

Enter knowing in my heart of hearts I wanted my "career" to be temporary.

Enter feeling confident and excited about where God was leading me but knowing He had other plans for me away from the classroom.

Enter challenges and complications from that point forward. Ha!

Before I began teaching I knew I wanted to be home with my babies while they were little if I had the option. If we could make it work, if we could afford it. It was like my biggest goal and loftiest dream. Staying home with my babies while they were babies was the desire of my heart if we could figure it out and God allowed. Then I began teaching and I KNEW. It became more than just a "want" or even a dream of mine. It became necessary and required and what I knew I was supposed to do, called to do.

So Terrell and I both committed to making it happen and worked HARD to prepare for this financial change, which also meant a bit of a lifestyle change. And I gave birth to my firstborn baby boy and I took my maternity leave, finished the last 5 weeks of school that year, and then started my "retirement" the summer of 09. Haha.

Meanwhile I commited to finding something I could do to contribute to our income. And God provided the BEST possible opportunites for us at that time. From the time Garrison was 6 months old, just in time for my last paycheck from the state, until Austin was over a year old, I sold Premier Designs jewelry. I had a very consistent business and truly enjoyed my job. It was just the best thing for us at that time. Ultimately I gradually slowed down to the point of doing very little because of having 2 babies at home (one of whom depended on me for nourishment), Garrison starting sports, and our life changing into lots more busyness and lots more commitments.

So we started searching for a real job for me... part-time, but real nonetheless, and the decision was made. I taught preschool part-time for 2 years and loved it. It wasn't always easy being a working mom (although I use the term "working mom" very loosely since I was only working part-time) and having my children at work with me everyday, but we were SO blessed by that job and our amazing school.

Then we had Layton. And he couldn't attend our preschool with me (for free I might add) because he wasn't old enough. Which means it wasn't worth it for me to work... for more than one reason. Then we made the easy yet difficult decision to have zero income from me for 18 months, or the entire school year until Layton would be old enough to attend preschool. Then we moved. Without selling our house. Then the financial burden returned with a vengeance.

So that brings us to the present and last week's tough week. On top of being sick and not getting the sleep we needed, we were also in deep discussions about our financial future...which also led to discussing my next career move.

While the stress and tension that came with all of our "discussions" wasn't fun, it was necessary. We needed a plan. We needed to get on the same page. We needed to voice our expectations and opinions and goals. And while it was kind of scary- I mean have absolutely no "career drive" in me. I would stay home like indefinitely if I could. I feel called to work and serve in the home, which unfortunately does not provide a paycheck- It was worth it. Even though Terrell and I confirmed once again that we think totally different about this dreaded topic, we found some common ground and discovered God is leading us to the same place after all. Because oh is it scary when you find yourselves headed towards different destinations and you're MARRIED. Umm, hello. Not good. Gracious.

It just came down to knowing at the end of the day, we're on the same team and God's will would NEVER have us land at different destinations. Never. So praying was involved. Being honest with ourselves and each other was involved. And compromise and soul-searching and problem solving was involved.

So, as of last week, we're preparing to embark on a new career opportunity for me. And by career, I mean something somewhat in my field that I can do from home that will provide some small but consistent income for our family. Something we feel God has led us to and that can work either immediately or in the future, temporarily or long-term.

While the thought of another "career change" has been a little intimidating, it's something I'm at peace about and trusting God with. It was His idea after all. And once we've worked out details and made things more official I'll have to share more. This week I'm just especially thankful for God's provisions and for this new opportunity. Oh, and that my husband and I are on the same team. Whew. =)

Monday, August 18, 2014

All 3 Boys

Pretty much every single time I'm in public with all 3 of my boys, someone notices and someone says something...a comment, question, conversation, something. It rarely ever goes unnoticed or unspoken of that I have 3 boys. It almost always happens at the grocery store or Walmart or some place I'm shopping. I guess seeing boys overflowing from a buggy just really stands out and makes people stop and talk to me. That, or any drama coming from said buggy must really draw attention to us. Haha.

Oh, and the check-out line is a guranteed place for a conversation to start about having 3 boys. Happens every single time. I can't remember the last time I was checking out to buy something with all 3 of them that the topic didn't come up. I literally think it's come up every single shopping trip since Layton was born and they've all 3 been present. It has to be a record.

And it's also been known to happen on some of our kid-friendly outings like McDonald's or the jumpy place or bowling. This summer it just became a regular thing.

It happens so frequently now that I'm just accustomed to it and I've come to love and appreciate the observations people make of us and the things they share with me. The comments I've heard (so far) have either been positive and encouraging, or amusing and funny. And I have so appreciated God placing strangers in my path to remind me of my blessings and bring a smile to my face during random shopping trips, errands, and outings. Especially those that have been less than smooth and easy. God's grace. It's overflowing everywhere.

Anyway, I finally made note of them. At least the ones that stood out and I could remember!

Comments/Questions/Reactions to me and my 3 boys:

*You have to run like 5 miles at your house every day keeping up with them right? (From one mom of 3 boys to another)

*Let me check that carseat... is that another boy in there? Well I'll be. 3 boys. I'll bet you stay BUSY.  

*Do you have all boys? 3? Wow. They are so cute.

*I'll bet there's never a dull moment at your house.  

*Do you have 3 boys? I had 2 boys. You are BLESSED.

*Aren't those the sweetest things you've ever seen? All boys. (Said in amusement. Or shock. Ha.)

*Look at those 3 little boys. Think you'll make 1 more trip to the hospital and try to get that girl?

*Are all 3 of those boys yours? The reason I ask is because I have 3 boys too. They keep you thin don't they? It is so busy but so much fun.

*Oh, I see you have all boys. So did I! Isn't it fun?

*So you have all boys? Man. You're gone be busy for the rest of your life. But just enjoy it. It goes by fast.

*Is the baby a boy too? Well my goodness. Aren't they precious.

*Well I'll bet you have an active household.

*I just had to come over and introduce myself because I saw you walk in with all those boys. I have 4. Boys are just fun. And loud. Sweet Jesus the NOISE.

*Is that little one a boy too? Oh my goodness. You were blessed with 3 little boys! Thinking about trying for a girl?!

*Well you just have a buggy load of groceries and boys. They are just the cutest things.

*You sure do have some good helpers from those boys. And one day that little one will be helping too.

*How do you keep up with all these boys? They must be sweet!

*Look at those handsome boys. You're doing good mama. 

Some of these comments were made in passing and some actually led to short conversations, but all of them were encouraging or funny or great reminders. They made me smile and slow down and really soak up the adventure I'm experiencing. So the next time you see a mama in the store or out and about wrangling her offspring... 1 bundle of joy or 5, make a positive, encouraging comment or compliment. It's such a blessing to hear and something she will probably remember. =)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Favorites: Bright Spots in a Tough Week

This week has been hard. We've been sick, sleep deprived, stressed, and overwhelmed. Definitely not fun and definitely not what I had in mind for the week. After the boys and I spent the weekend sick and after 2 missed days of school this week and after Terrell and I stayed up late into the night discussing the future (specifically my career/job/income contribution plan for the future... my LEAST favorite discussion topic ever) and after Layton decided not to sleep through the night for the majority of the week, we've made it to Friday and survived yet another crazy week of challenges and adjustments and stress. Sorry about the run-on sentence. This week just wasn't easy and I'm happy to put it behind me and move on.

While the week as a whole wasn't my favorite, I did have several bright spots this week that reminded me to count my blessings and just how good God is. Thank you Jesus.

*Garrison ended up having a strep and ear infection combo so he missed Monday and Tuesday of school and we all hung out at home trying to get well. (Big sigh. The 2nd week of school. Boo.) I loved seeing my big boys playing together just about all day long, or at least when they felt like it. During one of our sick days the boys decided to "camp out" in the living room with their books and animals. They were all comfy and content and requested all lights be turned off. Presh.

*The big boys and I also enjoyed several games of Hi Ho Cherry-O. Austin is finally able to play and follow the rules. Yay!

*Rocking this sweet baby for every single nap and bedtime is one of my most favorite things. I am so blessed to be home with him all the time!
*I go a new do! I got inches cut off, layered it all up, and now I just literally dry it and go every morning. Such a time-saver!! I'm learning to embrace the hair I have. Ha! This picture doesn't show the waves and flips and free-spiritness of the back so you'll have to trust me when I say there's some craziness going on. But I like it. And I have the option of straightening it and turning it under, or of using gel and "scrunching". Yay. =)

*I enjoyed a GREAT shopping trip with these 2 this week for daddy's birthday. They did awesome!

*We are all still adjusting to Kindergarten and big school hours (missing 2 days this week didn't help) so the mornings have been a tad challenging, BUT, I love seeing this smiling face after school and hearing all about his day every afternoon. And, I'm sooo thankful he's feeling better!
*This little man decided to taste his toes this week. So cute!! I just can't get enough of him!

*We finally got outside for the first time this week on yesterday. Yay! (P.S. Come on Fall!)

*This sweet boy drew us a special surprise picture yesterday. It's a picture of the temple Solomon built from his Bible we've been reading from every night. He also decided to draw a picture of Mary and baby Jesus in the temple with Solomon. Bless it. And he was very proud he knew how to spell "hot" to go with the fire. Just precious.

*This back to school prayer is exactly what I'm praying for my biggest this school year. I love it!

Now we are looking forward to a normal, sick-free weekend!! And I'm hoping to get back on track with blogging next week. This week was so draining I just had nothing to offer. Haha. Happy Friday and Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

6 Months Old

My baby is 6 months old today! I can't believe we're here already. Time is flying by. But I am LOVING soaking up my last baby and spending my days with him and his brothers.

This month has been eventful. We've moved. We've started Kindergarten. We've come down with colds. We've adjusted our routine a lot. We've adjusted our life a lot. Ha! Accomodating to a smaller house, 1 big boy in Kindergarten, 1 middle boy at home all day, and 1 baby boy attached to mama's hip lots has been a whirlwind. We're trying to get our bearings and get the hang of our new normal and it's coming along slowly but surely. Sort of. I think.

Anyway, this baby keeps right on growing and smiling and loving us and totally wrapping us all around his little fingers. =)

Layton's monkey pics turned out cute! BIG thanks to my big boys for making Layton smile!

Garrison at 6 months...
Austin at 6 months...
6 Months Stats and Happenings:

*Since we've moved and just recently changed pediatricians, we won't have your 6 month well check til next month. So for now, we're estimating. =) We tried weighing you and think you're over 15 pounds now which I'm thinking is a little on the small side. You definitely have a big appetite so I'm pretty positive you're not starving! 

*You still wear size 3 diapers and mostly 6-9 month or 6-12 month clothes.

*You are now eating 3 meals a day of solid food! You love all your baby food and have a rather large appetite. You're still nursing exclusively other than your baby food.

*We keep waiting for a tooth to show up any day but no sign of one yet! In the meantime, any and everything goes straight to your mouth and the drool is non-stop.

*You go to bed around 7:30 every night and wake up sometime between 7:00 and 7:30 every morning. This month you came down with your first little cold and stopped sleeping through the night for a stretch but we hope we're back on track now.

*You take about an hour and a half morning nap and about a 2 hour afternoon nap. Most days you wake up at some point during your nap and need your paci and then you go back to sleep. You also have a new favorite sleeping position... your left side almost all the way over on your tummy. It's your go-to position every single time.

*This month you've started enjoying toys and books lots more! You love to reach for things and grab onto toys we give you or that are attached to your carseat, and you are loving books with different textures. Yay! You also recently discovered jewelry and my hair and seemed very impressed.

*You're loving peek-a-boo right now. This is one of your favorite things your big brothers do with you.

*You can sit up by yourself leaning over forwards for about 2 seconds. =) You're doing great in the bumbo though! That's where you enjoy your meals and it's working out perfect so far.

*You are LOVED and adored by every single member of your family and you always have somebody hugging on you, kissing on you, or loving on you. We are so thankful you are ours! Happy Birthday to our sweet baby Layton!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Friday Favorites: It's Finally Friday!

This week has been super long and I think every member of the family is soo glad it's finally Friday. =) A few of my favorite moments this week... (not as many as normal because KINDERGARTEN.)

*Last Saturday night we went out with family and friends to a Japanese steakhouse to celebrate our brother-in-law, Frankie's, birthday. We just knew the boys would be so entertained and so thrilled with watching our food prepared and the "performance" by the chefs. Ummm, wrong. They were totally afraid for their lives. My poor sheltered babies. The fire scared them to death. Thankfully Garrison eventually got past the fire and was just a little cautious and apprehensive. Austin on the other hand, well it's possible he's scarred for life. He was actually fearful of the chef. Cried his eyes out, begged to go to the car, afraid the chef was in the bathroom, afraid the chef would appear out of thin air at any point in time, SCARED. Bless his heart. Thankfully we managed okay and were eventually able to have a really great time. We laughed so hard and had so much fun at Frankie's party.
And thankfully even the big boys were able to have fun eventually! Especially when it came time to sing, blow out candles, and help open presents. =)

*On Sunday afternoon we decided to take the big boys to the movies to see Planes 2. This was their very first time going to the movies and they did great! Austin's attention span was definitely shorter but he really liked the movie and we were able to finish it without any issues. Thanks to my mom for coming over to keep Layton for us!

*Celebrating the first day of school with Spiderman cupcakes was a special treat! And the biggest treat for me was seeing him smile and listening to him talk about his day.
Austin's first day went great too. Double yay.

*Speaking of Austin, I've loved our little "school" sessions. This week we've mainly worked on letter sounds plus a little cutting and writing. I'm pretty proud of my middle. He's adjusting easily and he loves to learn so he's been a great student. =)

*And I can't forget this little guy. He melts my heart all the time... but this week I've really enjoyed feeding him and watching him eat baby food. It's just the cutest thing ever! Especially when I'm not rushed and able to really pay attention and enjoy feeding him. He's like my little bird! Presh. Baby boy has quite the appetite.
TGIF!!! We're hoping and planning for a really low-key weekend... especially sleeping a little later and not having anywhere to be! And getting my biggest completely well again... it seems during this first week of school he's come down with a little cold. Boo. Somehow that always happens. Thankfully it isn't too bad and hasn't slowed him down too much. Hopefully it moves on fast and leaves the rest of us alone. Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

School News

*This first week of big school has been a BIG adjustment. Like the WHOLE family is adjusting. Lots of trial and error, lots of new routines, lots of adjusting happening. It's been a really long week but we're surviving. Yay.

*While the boys aren't fans of getting up before the sun, AT ALL, so far they haven't given us too much trouble waking up so early. Once we figure out this new gig, I'm hoping to let them all sleep just a little later.

*Garrison was all smiles and greeted me with a huge hug on Monday when I picked him up. Yay for a happy, successful first day! I was thrilled to see him and soooo happy he was happy! My sister actually picked him up from his room and he hung out with her until I got to school so I could avoid the crazy long car rider line. He told me everything he could remember about his day and decided he liked Kindergarten BUT that it was too long. Bless it. 8:00 to 3:00 is a looonnng day for a 5 year old.

*Austin and I spent Monday and Tuesday at home doing "school" together, playing, and taking care of laundry and a few chores. It went well and we had a good time together. It still broke my heart to see him playing by himself though. And I still struggled with some major guilt over him not being able to attend preschool this year. Big sigh. But we went on our first little outing Wednesday morning and getting out for a couple hours did us good.

*Garrison was way more hesitant to go into his classroom on Tuesday morning. He told me that it was too long (the day) and that the clock was too slow. Poor baby. Talk about making me feel terrible for forcing him to go to Kindergarten! Also on Tuesday I had my whole crew with me, aka: the little brothers. So that made goodbyes longer and tougher. When Garrison gave Austin and Layton bye hugs and kisses it was as if he was saying goodbye for a week. Break my heart.

*After school on Tuesday wasn't pleasant. Garrison had a great day at school but was NOT impressed with waiting on me with the car riders. Then after we got home he was just all out of sorts and pretty much not fun to be around. He was really moody, emotional, tired, short-tempered, emotional. It wasn't pretty. Hopefully he was just worn out and we won't have that to look forward to every afternoon once he's adjusted to the clock moving slow. 

*Wednesday morning wasn't fun... for mama. We were later getting to school than I wanted to be, then I had to unload my whole backseat full of boys, then I had to see some of my friends leaving the school all put together and not in a rush while I was trying to make my way out of the parking lot and into the school, then we realized we didn't have Garrison's car rider tag (oh the shame! It's only the 3rd day of school!!!), then we got back to the car after dropping Garrison off and Austin almost started crying because he said he was going to miss Garrison and I almost started crying because Austin missed Garrison and I lost Garrison's car rider tag ON THE 3RD DAY OF SCHOOL! It was a doozy.

*Thankfully Wednesday afternoon Garrison got in the car wearing the missing car rider tag. Apparently it was left at school on Tuesday afternoon even though I was positive he wore it home. I'm telling you, I have got to get it together. Being a Kindergarten mom is kicking my behind so far. SO thankful homework and soccer haven't started yet!

*This morning went so-so. We got out of the house on time because I waited to feed Layton his baby food til after dropping Garrison off. And Terrell followed us to the school so he could wait in the car with Austin and Layton (not having to unload little brothers saved lots of time), and he wanted to see if he could possibly take Garrison to school some mornings and still make it to work on time. Well. Since we got there early, students weren't allowed in their classrooms yet. They were sitting in the hall outside their rooms. Garrison did not care for that and made it clear that he does not want to do that everyday. So I'm going to avoid that if I can since I don't have anywhere to be fast.

*Garrison still doesn't know the way to his classroom, so I'm going to be walking him in every morning for a while. (Come to find out our school has several mamas who walk their kids in every morning all year.) The only thing I'm worried about is that starting next week you have to be in the school by 7:45 to walk your child to their room. Cue: Get ready to rush out of here even faster every morning.

*The afternoon car rider line has been interesting. Garrison's seat is in the middle so that's made things a little tricky and I still haven't figured out what's best. One day, eventually, we'll get a bigger car and move Garrison out of that middle seat. I've decided the day will come before he's 16. For sure by then. Gracious.

*After school at my house is just CRAZY. Boys are excited. Boys are wild. Boys are moody. Boys are exhausted. Boys are bouncing off the walls. Boys are starving. Boys are mean. Boys are happy. Boys are best friends. Boys are enemies. I am trying my best to come up with some kind of plan/routine that works for everybody... the well-rested almost 3 year old who is ready for a snack and to play hard, the worn out, free from school big kid who is starving and can't decide if he wants to rest or go wild, and the baby boy who just wants his afternoon feeding and to NOT be put in his swing the second we walk in the door from picking up his biggest brother. There has got to be a way for me to not lose my mind every afternoon waiting on Terrell to get home.

Like I said, adjustments are numerous. Even more numerous than I expected. But we are surviving. So that's good. Maybe we'll figure things out and get in a groove soon. One day I'm going to look back at all this school news and smile at how crazy this adjustment was for all of us. I just know it.